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Montblanc Donation series - Has it lost its niche?


Innervoice
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Hi,

 

I am a long time lurker on this forum but this is only my second post, so apologies in advance for starting off with this topic.

 

Today, I received a newsletter from Iguanasell stating that they have Monbtlanc Chopin pen in stock. 'Wow, a NOS Hommage a Chopin pen', I thought. However when I opened the link, I saw that Montblanc has actually released a new Donation series pen in honour of Frederick Chopin. There is just one word to describe the pen: understated. It has a blue ink window, a piano hammer as the clip, his verses on the clip ring, signature on the cap and his face on the nib (weird in my opinion). I feel that the Donation series is underrated here and elsewhere on the internet (compare the number of Donation pen reviews as compared to the Writers pen reviews). I honestly adore the Donation series of Montblanc as they feature nice understated pens with some features to distinguish themselves from the common 146. This all used to be available (more on this later) at a relatively affordable price and definitely cheaper than the Writer's series (that series has honestly ventured into too much gaudiness at this point).

 

Then I looked at the price.... 900 USD!! Before someone points out that 'It is a Montblanc, it IS supposed to be overpriced', let me list down the pens from the same brand which can be bought at this price:

1) A new Steel Solitaire 146

2) A used (or lightly used/ mint if you are lucky) Sterling Silver Solitaire 146

3) A new 75th Anniversary SE 146

4) 40 - 50% of the Writers Edition series (this also includes some of the non gaudy pens)

5) MANY special edition pens

6) Heck, most of the Donation series pens can be obtained new/ mint between 550 and 700 USD (if you know where to look)

 

The saddest part about this for me personally is that I had started collecting the Donation series pens (and have bought the Karajan as my first pen at a slightly overpriced 700 USD, some others are cheaper) as I thought I could use the pens without raising too much eyebrows in the office (other than the folks who notice the snow star). But at this price range, I am really not sure. The series used to occupy a niche of being an understated series of beautiful pens with subtle things (the keyboard clip ring of Karajan, the red signature of Solti to name a few) to pay homage to the musician and show that it is something more than a common 146, all at a relatively lower cost. I realize that with the increase in price of the standard pens, the Donation series pens are supposed to be dearer too. But in this economic logic, has the series lost its niche as compared to other Montblanc pens? Other than fans of the musician who is being paid a homage, will anybody else buy this pen?

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  • Arcadian

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Well, the price is by default in EUR, so conversion rates affect it.

 

There is a war on Ukraine... which has resulted in increased prices all over Europe. In most places, easily ~50% with respect to January. And Germany is specially affected.

 

I do not know if that influences the price. But IguanaSell is in Spain, and the country went to almost a full halt a month ago as transportation prices raised and transporters went into a strike. Anything demanding transport from/to Spain skyrocketeered. Similar events happen all over Europe, France, Poland, Hungary, Italy,...

 

What I mean, is, I do not know if that is the standard price or if it has artificially increased in the last month, but the EU is experiencing lots of inflation due to the war in Ukraine and it might have something to do on the final cut.

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The series generally appeals to me - I like the flat top design. I tried the Strauss pen in a shop several years ago, and remember thinking that it was a wonderful nib, and a well proportioned pen. The nib on the Brahms, however, seemed uninteresting, although the design is probably the best of them all. As for the price - I have no idea why it has jumped so high, and I do see it as a barrier to my entry into the Donation series. 

 

 - P. 

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Lots of pens are now way over 500. I’m amazed by the prices of some Pineider and Leonardo pens, for example. 600, sometimes 700 euros… Puts MB pricing in a different perspective, I think. 

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Fully agree.

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@TheDutchGuy +2. I started thinking that base MB pens aren’t so expensive after all, all things considered.

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Also Montblanc just raised their prices across the board. I think it's an annual thing these days as many of these luxury lifestyle brands adjusts their prices every year. I do agree that in the scheme of things, if you bought the Karajan at 700 which at this point, is quite a few years ago, the Chopin would be in line with said pricing at 900. If you check Montblanc pricing, only the most basic Meisterstuck will sneak in under 1000. Everything else in their range is above that margin these days.

 

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